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The Definition of Grit? See Adam Hadwin

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“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming,” said Theodore Roosevelt.

On Sunday in the final round of the Valspar Championship, Adam Hadwin got to be the man in the arena. He was leading the tournament entering the Snake Pit, a trio of the most difficult holes at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course, and he proceeded to hit his tee shot into the water. Hadwin took a double bogey, but he collected himself and went on to par Nos. 17 and 18 to win his first PGA Tour event by a stroke. In so doing, he joined the elite club of PGA Tour winners born in Canada, and he also earned a spot in the field at The Masters. Very cool, especially for considering the story I recently heard about his path to the PGA Tour.

Flashback to the year 2005. Henry Brunton is the Canadian National Team Coach. His phone rings. It’s Jim Kelson of the University of Tennessee. Kelson wants to know if Brunton is interested in bringing a Canadian Junior National Team to participate in Tennessee’s tournament at Holston Hills in September, which was perfectly within the NCAA rules at the time. Brunton says, “Yes,” and he puts together a team of five players.  His roster included four of the top-ranked juniors in Canada at the time: Ben Moser, Rafael Lee, Christopher Ross and Hugo Lauzon. It also included Adam Hadwin, a relatively unknown high school senior from Abbotsford, British Columbia.

“At the time, no one in the U.S. knew about Adam,” Brunton said. “The opportunity for Adam to play in the [University of Tennessee] event proved to be a tipping point … Adam showed the coaches at the event what I knew. He was a tremendously talented and committed golf athlete with great upside potential. What they couldn’t see is that he had a rage inside to make it to the PGA Tour.”

Hadwin wanted to play college golf, but he needed a scholarship to follow his dreams.

“I was not aware that any college coach had seen him play or offered him a scholarship or knew much about him before the tournament,” said Mark Crabtree, head golf coach at Louisville.

In the first round of the tournament, Hadwin shot 1-over par (72), which put him in the top-20 players. Not bad for a 17-year-old kid playing 2,676.3 miles from home. In the second round that afternoon, he shot even-par (71). The next day he followed with a 73. In a field that included top college golfers from the University of Alabama, Pepperdine and Vanderbilt, Hadwin finished tied for 19th.

It was during the tournament that Crabtree noticed Hadwin.

“He had an impressive golf swing,” Crabtree said. “And he beat four of the five guys on my team. I called him the next week. I told him about my background, our team and the amazing opportunities to get better at Louisville.”

The next year, Hadwin was a Louisville Cardinal.

Hadwin was not the best 14-year-old golfer in Canada; he was not the best 16-year-old, nor the best 18-year-old or 20-year-old. When the opportunity was given, however, his talent showed. It was a glimpse into the future; he kept getting better and developed a knack for thriving under pressure.

Hadwin was an All-American (Honorable Mention) and Conference Champion at Louisville, but he did not instantly become a superstar after graduation. Five years later, however, he topped the season-ending money list on the Web.com Tour, winning two tournaments on the circuit. More toil. More grinding. Long flights, missed connections. Hours and hours of practice. Then more validation, a 59 at the Career Builder Challenge in January. Now he’s a PGA Tour winner.

From me and all of Canada, congrats Adam! Best of luck at the Masters! We’re very proud of you!

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Brendan is the owner of Golf Placement Services, a boutique business which aims to apply his background in golf and higher education to help educate players, their families and coaches about the process! Website - www.golfplacementservices.com Insta - golf.placement.sevices Twitter @BMRGolf

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Dave R

    Mar 20, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Hey coastieyaker I agree but I don’t think Adam Hadwin is a rich little brat from the country club there bud? Don’t paint everyone with the same brush,this young man worked just as hard to get where he is so stop it already. And guess what he’s real proud to be CANADIAN.

  2. Gilbert Catillo

    Mar 20, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Those of you who don’t see any grit in this young man need to give your head a shake.
    To top the Web.com tour, shoot 59 and win on the PGA Tour, takes tremendous grit.
    You have no idea how difficult this is.
    Fellow Canadian

  3. coastieyaker

    Mar 20, 2017 at 8:29 am

    How is Adam any different than the many golfers who struggled through their first few years of professional golf, only to have a breakthrough win at some point? I will give you two much better examples of grit…Patrick Cantlay and Jim Herman. The former, once the number 1 amateur in the world, playing with a debilitating back injury, only to have his caddy/best friend mauled by a drunk driver. The latter, once an Assistant Pro for many years, winning on Tour against all the country club spoiled brats whose parents are either doctors, lawyers, or independently wealthy.

  4. Johnnylongballz

    Mar 20, 2017 at 7:25 am

    I really doubt that he is “the definition of grit”, but he does seem like a nice guy and he is playing really well.

  5. People's Champ

    Mar 17, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    good story. he is so much better than americans

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GolfWRX equipment expert Brian Knudson gets his first ever iron fitting. He dishes about his favorite irons, some irons that didn’t work for him, and he discusses the wide array of shafts that he tried. And then, he reveals what irons and shafts he got fit into. His irons of choice may surprise you.

Check out the podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Barnbougle Dunes: World Class Golf

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We arrived to Launceston Airport in Tasmania just before sunset. Located on the Northeast Coast of Australia’s island state, Tasmania, Barnbougle is almost as far from Sweden as it gets… yet it immediately felt like home when we arrived.

Launceston Airport, Tasmania. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

The drive from the airport was just over an hour, taking us through deep forests and rolling hills before we arrived to Barnbougle Golf Resort, which consists of two courses — The Dunes and Lost Farm — a lodge, two restaurants, a sports bar and a spa. Unfortunately, it was pitch black outside and we couldn’t see much of the two courses on our arrival. I would like to add that both Johan and I were extremely excited about visiting this golf mecca. We later enjoyed a tasty dinner at the Barnbougle Lost Farm Restaurant before we called it a day.

The locals at Barnbougle Dunes. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

The next day, we woke up early and got out to The Dunes Course as very first guests out. Well, to be quite honest, we weren’t actually the first out. There were a few locals — Wallabies, lots of them — already out on the course. The natural landscape at Barnbougle is fantastic and my cameras almost overheated with the photo opportunities. After two intense hours of recording videos and producing photos both from ground, we headed back to Lost Farm for a wonderful breakfast (and view). After our breakfast, it was time to try our luck.

“Tom’s Little Devil.” Hole No.7 at Barnbougle Dunes. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Before describing our experience playing the courses, I would like to mention about Richard Sattler, a potato farmer and owner of Barnbougle. In the early 2000’s, Richard was introduced to U.S. golfing visionary Mike Keiser, who had heard about his amazing stretch of farmland in Tasmania and came down to visit. Mike convinced Richard that Barnbougle (which at that stage was a potato farm and still grows potatoes and raises cattle today) might be perfect for creating a top quality golf course.

After an introduction to well renowned golf architect Tom Doak and the formation of a partnership with former Australian golf pro and golf architect Mike Clayton, the development of the Barnbougle Dunes Course commenced.

The walk between the 4th and 5th holes. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Featuring large bunkers dotted between fun rolling fairways shaped from the coastal dunes, Barnbougle Dunes offers the golfer some tough challenges, in particular on the first nine. This is indeed a course that will entertain all kinds of golfers.

After our round, we looked back at some fantastic highlights such as playing the iconic 7th hole, a short par-3 called ”Tom’s Little Devil,” as well as the beautiful par-4 15th. We were just two big walking smiles sitting there in the restaurant to be honest. Lets also not forget one of the biggest (and deepest) bunkers I’ve seen at the 4th hole. The name of the bunker is “Jaws.” Good times!

As a small surprise for Johan, I had arranged a meeting after our round with Richard Sattler. Richard, ever the farmer, entered the car parking just in front of the clubhouse in a white pick-up van with a big smile un his face. We talked to Richard for almost 30 minutes. He is an extremely humble man and left such a warm impression on us. Richard explained the Barnbougle story: how it all began and the property today.

To me, this is a high-end golf destination offering something very unique with two world-class courses in Barnbougle Dunes and Barnbougle Lost Farm, both ranked in the top-100 greatest golf courses by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine (U.S.). With the courses located just next to each other, it’s probably one of the best golf resorts you can find down under and a golf resort that I would like bring my hardcore golfing friends to visit. Everything here is exceptional with the resort providing spacious rooms, comfy beds, good food and spectacular views.

(C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Barnbougle Dunes is a real treat to play for any golfer and will leave you with a sweet golfing memory. Compared to the golf courses available on the more remote King Island, Barnbougle is accessible (given Tasmania is connected by better flight connections) and the hospitality and service at is much more refined.

The golf resort is one of the absolute best I’ve been to. I can also highly recommend playing Barnbougle Dunes; I had great fun and you can play it in many ways. Tomorrow, we will be playing and experiencing the other course at Barnbougle: Barnbougle Lost Farm, a Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw course with 20 (!) holes.

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